Many of our customs are the religious and philosophical remains of the original settlers to which Roman Britain, Angle, Saxon and Dane have all contributed.

Morris dancing was part of a ritual originally performed to encourage fertility in earth, man and beast. The belief still stands the higher the Morris men’s caper the higher the crops will grow and that, certain dances will induce rain to fall. 

Mummer plays were performed until recent times at Thame, Sydenham and Stokenchurch. The plot of the play is very simple, it consists of a fight to the death between two heroes and the resurrection of the fallen victim by a doctor and his assistant. The play is thought to have its origins in a ritual portraying the death of the old year and the birth of the new.

Peculiar to Oxfordshire is the game Aunt Sally. The Aunt Sally or dolly is a round piece of wood set on a metal stand. Each player has 6 sticks about 18 inches long and the object is to knock the head off 6 times without touching the stand. Each hit counts one. There are 8 players on each side so possible to secure a total of 48 points for each leg. There are three legs to each match. The Residents Handbook1981 records that there were Aunt Sally pitches in the Bird-in-Hand, the Kings Head and the Red Lion and a silver cup played for in the village. An Aunt Sally match was featured in an episode of Midsomer Murders

All work and no play - residents celebrated many festivals coming together

The reality of village life in former times was a story of hard physical work,, crippling illness, high infant death rates, and a continuous battle against the elements which contributed to a fragile economy and a struggle for existence.  However this was mitigated by a thriving social life.

Social events, along with national festivities such as Christmas, Easter and Whitsun, which brought the residents together as a community, included the local celebrations on May Day when the children went around the village with their garlands.

The Day would be marked with village folk cavorting round the maypole, the selection of the May Queen and the dancing figure of the Jack-in-the-Green at the head of the procession. Jack is thought to be a relic from those enlightened days when our ancient ancestors worshipped trees. These pagan roots did little to endear these May Day festivities with the either the established Church or State.

Good morning young ladies and gentlemen, I wish you a happy day
I’ve come to show you my garland on this first of May 
For it is the first of May, the first of May is garland day
So pleased to see my garland, I’ll call no more today.’

The boys carried the maypole up to the home of Walter Benton (who owned Chinnor Cement and Lime Company) where maypole and country dancing was followed by a lavish tea.[1]  In 1926, the Bluebell Express was started and people came from far away to picnic and pick bluebells on Chinnor Hill.  Also celebrated were the Thame Fair, Sydenham Chapel anniversary, various church activities such as bazaars and Sunday School treats, the Band of Hope tea (under the auspices of the Congregational church), and the Crystal Palace Temperance Fair. Weddings were also a village affair, the bride walking through the village to the church.

Founded in 1856, the Royal Oak cricket club in Chinnor was a village fixture with football clubs from the 1900s, and by the 1920s there was a tennis club in Station Road, whilst the Rifle and Pistol Club dates from 1907.  Badminton was played in the Village Hall from the 1930s and the schools provided time for what was referred to as ‘drill’, which would now be physical education, in the syllabus if the weather permitted. Life between the wars in Chinnor it would seem that physical exercise was not in short supply. In addition to hard physical work on the farms or in the house caring for a large family the main method of traveling was cycling. Children cycled to school in Chinnor from Henton, Sydenham, Emmington, Aston Rowant and Kingston Stert at the age of 11. Mabel Howlett remembers that ‘We cycled everywhere in those days!’ Her first bike being a ‘sit up and beg’ with dress guards to prevent clothes being caught in the wheel ‘no trousers worn by girls then’. Mary Howlett comments that bicycles seemed to have been popular in Chinnor, naming Walter Cox as having a business hiring out bicycles by the hour or day as well as running a confectionary business. 

Chinnor Chronicle September 1982 Issue 284 price 15p 
Chinnor Players - Comedy & Corpses

Chinnor Players Autumn Production “Tomb with a View” by Norman Robbins, is a hilarious send up of the Who-Dun-It genre of play, as by the end of the Third Act There are more corpses then live members of the cast. The plot twists and turns from the opening curtain and it takes a good sleuth to spot the murderer.  Sinister references around – why are wolf howls heard from the cellars?  What is the secret of the rose gardens and what or who is buried there?

  • Sam Coey
  • Wally Newbitt
  • Phil Riddle
  • Dave Adamson
  • Karen Miles
  • Pat Cross
  • Pat Samuel
  • Julia Adamson
  • Judi Malone
  • Jennie Burke

will be providing the answers, not forgetting the clues, red herrings etc., in this funny and intriguing play.

Muriel Newbitt a Chinnor Player, knows for her aptitude for comedy, will be directing the killings – sorry the action

Chinnor Chronicle September 1982 Issue 284 price 15p
Chinnor Operatic Society

On  the 7th September Chinnor Operatic Society commence rehearsals at Lord William School.  They start with preparation for their annual Olde Tyme Music Hall which has become so popular.  This year they welcome the return of the formidable Chairman of Ceremonies, to keep us all in order and to introduce each act for our titillating pleasure in a splendiferous, extraordinary salacious scintillating and precocious fashion.

Although their concentrations are on the Olde Tyme Music Hall they are also deep in preparation for their major production next year, which is to be Offenbach’s La Vie Parisienne.

La Vie Parisienne, is a light frothy operetta with a fairy tale story and plenty of really superb music to get your teeth into, including the notorious Can-Can.

Auditions for the principle roles will take place in October all hands on deck welcomed.  Contact Lyn Mumford or Liz Clark for more details.


Whites’ Field - Chinnor Roundabout Issue 1 March 1985

A few years ago the former Parish Council purchased Mill Lane Field from Mr R R W White of Lower Road at a price far below its market value in order to provide an extra area of land available for community use.

As a tribute to such a generous gesture and in order to retain one more piece of Chinnor’s history this council has decided to abolish the name Mill Lane Field and revert back to White’s Field as in deed that area of land was referred to and recorded as, far back as 1847

And they all had a jolly good JARP

They came from miles around they were packed in like sardines, the sale of hard boiled eggs had never been better and everyone agreed that there is nothing like a jolly good JARP? How or what is the "Jarping Competition" details below

Challenging the boys

The gauntlet has been thrown down on Sunday April 29th 1973, the ladies are taking on the men at their own game of Rugby.  The ladies are all set, however, there appears to be some reluctance by the lads to take them on!!